Is it wrong to be a Christian secretly in order to preserve your own life?
Is it wrong to live lives as secret Christians for fear of reprisal or even death? Should Christians be willing to die for confessing the name of Jesus? Should we keep our faith secret in order to preserve our lives? This is a question that is only hypothetical for Christians in many parts of the world, with the worst persecution they could receive being ridicule and/or insults. However, for Christians in some parts of the world, this question is very real and practical—their lives literally are at risk. It is one thing to not be as bold as you would like in order to protect your own life and/or the lives of your family. It is another thing entirely to make your own life a higher priority than serving, honoring, worshiping, and obeying Christ. So, with that said, is it wrong to keep your faith in Christ a secret?
Jesus Himself gives us the answer: "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:32-34). Christ made it clear to us that “if the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). So, while it is understandable for someone to keep his/her faith in Christ a secret in order to save his/her life, for a Christian, a secret faith is simply not an option.
In the passage above, the word “world” comes from the Greek kosmos. It refers to an evil, fallen world system of godless, immoral people whose hearts and minds are controlled by Satan (John 14:30; 1 John 5:19; Ephesians 2:1-3). Satan hates God. He also hates those who follow Christ. Christians are the focal point of Satan’s wrath. His goal is to “devour” them (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11). We should not be surprised that the world’s rulers hate believers simply because we “are not of the world.” The reason why Christians are being persecuted and killed daily for their confession of Christ is that our godly lives serve to condemn this world’s wicked deeds (Proverbs 29:27). It has been this way from the beginning of time with the first murder ever recorded when Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4:1-8). Why did Cain do this? “Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous” (1 John 3:12). Correspondingly, the world today cheers those who practice evil (Romans 1:32) and condemns those who would live righteously.
Another message that Jesus brought to the world: “They [the world] will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). Jesus has promised us this: at the end times Christians will suffer severe persecution by this ungodly world. We will be profaned, abused, and cursed. The phrase “will deliver” comes from the Greek word meaning “giving over,” as in the sense of being arrested by the police or military (Matthew 4:12). Many will be murdered. We will be “hated by all nations” for His name’s sake. In the parallel passage of Mark, Jesus declares, “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them” (Mark 13:9). As we are witnessing today throughout the world, being identified with the name of Christ will cost us our freedoms, our rights, our respect, and sometimes our lives.
Christians have a mandate from Christ to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Paul echoes Christ’s directive with this query: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15). In order for the gospel to be proclaimed, even in the darkest corners of the earth, someone must do the proclaiming. Our purpose on earth is to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, telling others the life-saving news of Jesus Christ. Yes, sometimes we risk persecution in doing so, and sometimes we risk our own lives. But we know it is God’s will that we share His truth with others, and we also know He is powerful enough to protect us until our mission on earth is completed.
Living for Christ in this world can be difficult, even brutal. This world is not our home. The world is a battlefield. The trials of life are the tools God uses for building us up and making us more like Jesus. It is in those dark times that we look to Christ and let His power work within us. Just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus gave us His final command to spread the gospel to the world. With that He also gave us His final promise. “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). And that is all that matters.
Future Prophesies - the Stage is Set (Can Happen Any Day)
Christian Persecution :: by Matt Ward
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…” (Matthew 5:10).
The Bible tells us that persecution will be the experience of those who have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior despite what the prosperity teachers tell us (2 Tim.3:12). For many Christians in this world today persecution is real, brutal and deadly serious where their very lives are at stake on a daily basis.
The Bible is replete with warnings that living as a Christian will be difficult and for many it has proven to be deadly. In more than 50 nations of our world today it is illegal to just be a Christian. It is illegal to own a Bible, to preach Jesus Christ, to change your faith to Christianity; especially from Islam and to teach one’s children about salvation in Jesus.
Those who continue to live in this way despite government edict or severe pressure face harassment, arrest, torture and even death. Aside from these 50 nations, in another 139 countries of the world today Christians are classified as being “under severe threat or persecution.”
Even countries that at one time hosted thriving Christian communities are now becoming significantly more hostile toward Christianity. One example of this is Turkey, which a short time ago had a Christian population totaling 32% of it electorate. Today it is 0.15%. Christians are systematically and methodically being eradicated from many countries in the world today.
The fact that we in the West can walk to church on a Sunday morning relatively unbothered is the exception in the world, not the norm. In fact, it is true to say that Christians have become the most persecuted group on earth in 2014-2015.
Our future in Jesus is indeed a glorious one beyond compare but until we meet Him through death or the Rapture our destiny on this earth is one which will increasingly include suffering and persecution. As the end time’s birth pangs increase, so will Christian persecution.
The examples of this worldwide are truly overwhelming.
The Middle East is witnessing a whole scale slaughter of Christian’s unseen since the era of the Crusades in the 10th and 11th centuries.Entire Christian cultures which have previously existed for centuries are being wiped out, especially in Iraq and areas of Syria under the control of the Islamic State. The barbarity of these attacks have shocked everyone exposed to them, which include decapitating young children and putting their heads on spikes simply because their parents are Christians. This type of barbarism is not generally reported in the media.
Indeed, one of the most upsetting yet inspirational news items of last year occurred last month in December 2014, when four Iraqi youth under the age of fifteen were decapitated by ISIS because they refused to convert to Islam. The reason they refused was that, “they loved Jesus” too much. This is not an isolated example.
Today in February 2015, for the first time in 1600 years there are no Christians living in Mosul or in almost the entirety of northern Iraq.  ISIS are following through on their stated goals and soon the vast swathe of land that they control will be entirely Christian free. What is perhaps equally as shocking is the gross underreporting that is taking place amongst the world’s media.
Persecution of Christians in 2014-15 is not confined to areas of obvious chaos such as Iraq and Syria. Open and brazen persecution of Christians is taking place in countries that are supposed to operate under the rule of well-established legal systems.
In Pakistan, in November 2014 for example, a mob burnt to death Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24 who were bundled into a hot kiln for the crime of burning verses of the Koran. Both husband and wife had their legs broken so that they could not run away. President Obama, though made aware of this issue did not even bother to issue a press release condemning this crime. Shama Bibi was also heavily pregnant at the time. Both were Christians. 
France in the last few weeks of 2014 and first few weeks of 2015 have decided to cede sovereignty in over seven hundred “no-go” areas to large Muslims communities. Areas where the French police do not patrol and where Sharia Law is the law that governs, not French judicial law. This retreat from confronting issues involving radical Islam has led to a literal explosion of hate crimes against Jews and Christians. This attitude led to the recent Charlie Hebdo massacres in Paris, and France is now witnessing a real life fast exodus of Jews undertaking Aliyah to Israel.
Boko Haram, in Africa are running rampage through well-established nation states like Nigeria, butchering entire villages.  Boko Haram’s primary targets are not Muslims, they are Christians, something again vastly under reported in Western media.
Closer to home in America and Europe the shadows of persecution are starting to crawl deeper down our own horizons. Creeping domestic legislation will soon effectively criminalize the Christian faith, meaning that believers in Jesus will have to choose between obeying the law or standing with their Bibles, and all under the guise of “political correctness.”
What makes this all the more perverse is that this criminalization of Christianity in the West is “…being perpetrated under the rubric of promoting tolerance and equality, but only toward approved groups.”  America currently very aptly falls into this category.
Prophetically, the Bible is clear that persecution is the future for the church in the run up to the end of the age, abroad and at home. As with ever increasing birth pangs the current persecution is the beginning of an ever increasing trend that is going to lead directly to the Tribulation period.
Those of us who love Jesus will experience persecution because it is the very cross of Jesus that we look toward with such hope for our salvation; that is what separates us so deeply from this world (John 15:18-21).
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14).
If you believe in Jesus, you are not of this world and the world will hate you for it.
True believers will also increasingly experience persecution because mainline churches are currently led by compromising leaders who do not love the truth as they ought (John 12: 42-44). And Jesus also plainly tells us that His true church will experience persecution because as His followers we will share in his suffering and in His promises.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).
Our immediate prophetic future on this earth is one that does involve suffering.
“And you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22).
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:10, 12-13).
It is this very suffering, abhorrent and appalling though it is, that convicts the world of sin through our witness to Jesus.
“…they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them” (Luke 21:12-13).
Ultimately God is in control. In control of all circumstances and all situations and our mission is to stand with Jesus in these last days, even in the midst of the raging storm and to simply be a witness.
Christian persecution is real and it is burgeoning, but there is hope and that hope is found in Jesus Christ alone.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:12-14a).
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Christian Persecution :: By Candy Austin
2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Recently, memories of some ‘suppressed incidences’ of Christian Persecution that happened in my life came to mind. Incidences that happened over 30 years ago but are relevant to the type of Christian Persecution that still goes on today. My walk with Christ began when I was 9 years old, when my family started attending an Assembly of God Church in Colorado. This was the same Church that led me to my Salvation, and one that I later got Baptized into.
When we would attend this Church on Wednesday nights, I would go to a class for girls my age called “Missionettes.” In this class, the Teacher would have all the girls recite this verse week after week. In my mind, I can still hear us in ‘sing-song’ unison echoing, “Whatsoeverrr thingsss are trueee, whatsoeverrr thingsss are honesttt, whatsoeverrr thingsss are justtt, whatsoeverrr thingsss are pureee, whatsoeverrr thingsss are lovelyyy, whatsoeverrr thingsss are of good reporttt, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things!” (Philippians 4:8). Praise the Lord, for this is also the place where I first started to learn and memorize scripture!
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Around that time, I began telling my peers about God, Jesus, the Devil, Praying, and Salvation. Some kids would cry, some would laugh, and some came up with the idea to persecute this ‘pesky Christian girl’ the next time I came around! Sure enough, on this certain occasion, those kids were ready for me, because as soon as I walked up, they said, “Hey Candy, look at this Children’s Bible!”
The next thing I remember is seeing a sheet of paper taped over a magazine that had ‘Children’s Bible’ scrawled on it, but when they opened it up, it was a ‘disgusting and blatant pornographic magazine’ instead! All I know is, at the sight of that and hearing the laughter that ensued, my instinct was to run back inside the apartment of the friends that we were visiting!
Even though that incident happened in the early 80’s, I will never forget the feeling of being ‘persecuted for Christ’ that very first time! Not to mention, around the same timeframe, an episode at a restaurant happened when some teenagers saw me conversing in Sign Language with my family. The horror came when I heard them say that they knew how to sign too by using their middle finger. My tender eyes were beginning to be opened to the ‘Evil that was permeating our Youth, Culture, and Society’ all those 37 years ago!
Fast forward to 8th Grade when we moved to a new town and I walked into an English class to let the Teacher know I would be her new student, while wearing a classic picture of Jesus on my shirt. Little did I know, that would ‘elicit persecution’ from some boys in that class for the next 3 years! From my 8th Grade year until the end of my 10th Grade year, the title “Devil Worshipper” was said about me whenever I walked into a room with those certain boys around.
The first time I heard that ‘horrible accusation’ I remember telling the Ring Leader that I was not what he had just called me! He just laughed and kept saying, “Devil Worshipper” over and over. Right then, I knew it was because of the Jesus shirt I wore that day that ‘earned me that kind of ill treatment.’ Needless to say, I was ‘beyond happy’ when I learned in my 11th-Grade year that the Ring Leader of my ‘3-year persecution battle’ moved away and I no longer had to endure those evil insults!
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
Speaking of the youth and Christian Persecution, my heart goes out to a young Nigerian girl named Leah Sharibu who was abducted at age 14 along with 109 other girls. Sadly, five were killed, and the rest were released a month later except for one, Leah, because she would not renounce her Faith in Christ and embrace Islam. She is 17 now and has spent her last 3 birthdays in captivity. The call is for prayer for her Faith to remain strong and for her release.
Her ‘3-year persecution battle’ makes mine pale in comparison due to the rumors that she has been raped, has given birth to a baby boy for a Boko Haram Commander, and has supposedly converted to Islam. Although family members do not have solid evidence of such claims, they continue to work and to pray for Leah to be set free.
Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
The list of Brothers and Sisters in Christ who are suffering Christian Persecution Worldwide is incomprehensible and exhaustive! It has already begun here in America and is only going to get worse! Being a Christian in these Last Days in our Country is not for the Weak, Nominal, or Lukewarm Christian. Do we have the Faith, Wisdom, Strength, Discernment, Courage, Guts, Spirit, and Fortitude to endure until the end? Are we praying for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ around the World as if suffering and bound in chains with them?
ACLJ.ORG is a site that advocates and fights for our Religious Freedoms and Rights. Log on, support, and sign their petitions like the ones to Free Leah Sharibu and so many others! Samaritan’s Purse.Org is another site that supports needs around the World! They not only provide physical relief to those suffering catastrophic loss, but they also bring the Gospel and distribute Bibles to those in their time of deprivation! The Voice of the Martyrs is another excellent site that advocates, helps, and empowers those suffering Christian Persecution around the World.
Hebrews 13:3 “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”
Until next time… Maranatha!